Jenny Ryan health: ‘I just flipped out’ Chase star on when her disorder took a hold

Jenny Ryan, 37, joined her fellow quizzers in 2015 making her debut appearance on 2 September. Jenny was personally recommended to the show through Anne Hegerty who both were in the same quiz team together with Jenny as the team captain. Hitting the ground running, Jenny went through one show on 5 September without getting one question wrong. the Vixen persona and confident flair  a women battling with a condition that made her question her own sanity.


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Jenny was diagnosed with depression in her teens after a terrifying experience.

Jenny explained: “I’d always been the genius of the family. Teachers said I’d definitely go to a top university and could do anything, even be Prime Minister.

“Suddenly, things got harder. I used to enjoy doing homework but stopped trying and felt drained. Anxiety started to build and I didn’t understand what was going on.

“One day at uni it crystallised into something physical and I had an urgent need to go home. On my way to the train station I felt like I had a fish bowl on my head, as if I wasn’t part of the same world as everyone else.

Back home I sat on my parents’ sofa and felt a lack of reality. My brain couldn’t process. I just flipped out. I thought – ‘what’s going on? Is my brain broken?’

I eventually went to the doctor who said it sounded like I could be depressed and had had an anxiety attack.”

Why some people suffer from mental disorders and others don’t

The Mayo Clinic explained: “Experiencing occasional anxiety is a normal part of life. However, people with anxiety disorders frequently have intense, excessive and persistent worry and fear about everyday situations.

“The causes of anxiety disorders aren’t fully understood. Life experiences such as traumatic events appear to trigger anxiety disorders in people who are already prone to anxiety.

“Inherited traits also can be a factor. For some people, anxiety may be linked to an underlying health issue.

“In some cases, anxiety signs and symptoms are the first indicators of a medical illness.


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How to lessen anxiety attacks and depression?

The Mayo Clinic added: “There’s no way to predict for certain what will cause someone to develop an anxiety disorder, but you can take steps to reduce the impact of symptoms if you’re anxious.

Steps include:

Get help early – anxiety, like many other mental health conditions, can be harder to treat if you wait.

Stay active – Participate in activities that you enjoy and that make you feel good about yourself. Enjoy social interaction and caring relationship, which can lessen your worries.

Avoid alcohol or drug use – Alcohol and drug use can cause or worsen anxiety. If you’re addicted to any of these substances, quitting can aka you anxious. If you can’t quit on your own, see your doctor or find a support group to help you.”

At the moment, jenny is not on antidepressants and taking a low-level beta blocker for anxiety.

She added: “Music really helps – singing is huge because it releases all the endorphins and gives me a real thrill.

“But I still have bad days. It’s about recognising when I might be spiralling into a dark place.”

If you, or someone you know displays any symptoms of depression or panic attacks, it’s important to speak with your GP about the best treatment.

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